Blitzed by the Billionaire

By: Alice Ward



“I guess if we’re supposed to meet again, we will,” I teased.

His eyes smoldered and he dropped his voice an octave. “I eat dinner here every Wednesday around this time. If you decide we’re meant to run into each other again, you know where to find me.”

He’s serious. He’s actually interested in me.

My smile softened and I dropped my tone to match the seriousness of his. “I’ll keep that in mind,” I promised.

“Till next time, then,” he offered with a grin.

“Till next time.”

I walked out of the diner, filled with emotions I didn’t understand. I loved Ben, and I wanted to build a life with him. But when Ethan asked for my number, I regretted not being able to give it to him. I took the long way home, trying to sort out my feelings.

I’m exhausted and my head isn’t on straight. Ben and I haven’t had much time together since school started. That’s why I got so caught up in Ethan’s flirting. I didn’t cross any lines. But if there’s one thing I’m sure of, I don’t need to see Ethan McAlister ever again.

***

On the second Friday of the school year, I reached a milestone in my class. Not one single child cried about missing their parents. I rewarded myself with a hot bath, followed by a night in bed with a bottle of wine and a week’s worth of television. I turned my alarm off before I drifted off, determined to sleep in Saturday morning. My friend Melissa had other ideas. She called bright and early at seven a.m.

“This better be good,” I mumbled into the phone.

“Good morning, sunshine. I’m sorry to wake you. I thought you’d be up by now.”

I pushed myself up against the headboard and reached for the bottle of water on my nightstand. My mouth tasted like sour wine and a dull throb filled the back of my head.

“Monday through Friday, I would be. On the weekends, I sleep,” I reminded her.

“Right, I’ll try to remember that next time.”

“It’s okay,” I replied through a yawn. “What’s going on?”

“I’m about to go watch the Stallions practice. I’m interviewing some of the players after, and I have an extra press badge.”

The Stallions were Portland’s new professional football team. The city had been petitioning the powers that be for years, and eighteen months ago, they finally gave their formal approval. The Stallions were owned by Victor Montez, Oregon’s wealthiest citizen. Montez had spent his career building an empire of casinos. He’d moved to Portland after selling out to Montgomery Enterprises, an even larger chain of destination resorts. Rumor had it that he’s a hot head and incredibly difficult to work with. Sportscasters insisted he was exactly who you’d want in charge of a startup team.

“You’re going to the stadium?”

“Yes. Phillip was supposed to go, but his kid has the chickenpox. He’s never had it before, and the last thing he wants to do is walk into practice like Typhoid Mary. Bill threw it to me, said it was my chance to prove I could hold my own with the sports desk. I know it’s short notice, but I have an extra press pass and I thought Ben might like to tag along and fanboy out while I get my interviews.”

“Aw, man, he would have loved that. But he’s working at the club today.”

“Even better. You can come with me and we can gawk at the hot football players,” she suggested and I could almost hear her waggling her eyebrows.

“I don’t know. It sounds like fun. But I had such a long week. I was really looking forward to doing nothing today.”

“I promise you won’t have to do anything physically or mentally exerting,” she pleased. “It’s going to be a beautiful day. You don’t have to do anything but sit in the stands and soak up the sunshine.”

“Okay,” I finally agreed.

“Great. We’re supposed to be there at noon, so I’ll pick you up at eleven.”

“I’ll see you then. Thanks for inviting me, Mel.”

“No problem. I’ll see you soon.”

I ended the call and let the phone fall to my bed. I shuffled to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and then dove back between my sheets. I chased two Advil with the rest of my water and told myself I was just going to close my eyes until the throbbing stopped. I woke up three and a half hours later.

Shit, shit, shit. Melissa will be here in thirty minutes and I’m still in my pajamas.

I threw open my closet door and grabbed my go-to boyfriend jeans and a blue and grey raglan t-shirt. I stuffed my feet into black Converse and trudged back to the bathroom to check my reflection. The extra hours of sleep hadn’t done anything to improve my bloodshot hangover eyes and my long hair hung limply around my tan face.

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